Not so different after all?


A new EuPI policy brief looks into the European elections with regard to the countries of Central and Eastern. The results of the May 2019 European Parliament elections  provide an opportunity to register the developments in Central and Eastern EU member states, which joined after 2004 (EU11) and to compare them to the trends across the rest of the EU. These observations might answer the question if the EU11 group is an outlier in the EU or the political developments reflect the overall trends in the EU? With over a quarter (26%) of the seats in the European Parliament, the trends in the EU11 EP2019 results can be important indicator for the next five years of EU politics.

The 2019 elections results showed that the center-right EPP group emerged as the clear winner in the EU11 with 36% of the seats there, compared to 21% for the center-left (S&D), 20% of the main Eurosceptic group (ECR) and the liberals in ALDE&R with 15%. The EPP is strongest in Hungary (62% of seats), followed by Slovenia (50%), Romania (44%) and Bulgaria (41%). The S&D parties are strongest in Estonia (33%), Bulgaria (29%) and Romania (28%). The ECR group is strongest in the Poland with 51% of the seats, but also in Latvia (25%), and the Czech Republic (19%). The Greens/EFA group is present by Lithuania (18%), Latvia (13%) and the Czech Republic (14%).

When the EU11 and the EU28 as whole are compared, the findings show that there are more similarities than differences between the EU11 in the CEE region and the rest of the EU:

  • The EU member states in CEE (EU11) voted much more center-right, much less “Green” and about the same center-left and liberal as the EU28 average.
  • The EU11 are not more Eurosceptic than their counterparts as far as number of seats per political groups in the European Parliament are concerned.
  • Voter turnout in the EU11 was generally much lower than the EU average (save for Lithuania and Romania), but there is an increase in 10 out 11 countries compared to 2014.

Full text of the policy brief Not so different after all? CEE in the European Parliament Elections2019

The policy brief is a product of the European Policy Initiative (EuPI) of the Open Society Institute – Sofia.